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[personal profile] fidesquaerens
Apparently Anderson Cooper came out as homosexual recently.

I usually get my news through blogs and the Daily Show and don't even own a TV, so most of the time what I hear about Mr. Cooper or any mainstream newsman is secondhand. Occasionally I've caught a piece by him when I'm on vacation somewhere or in a public place like a waiting room or airport. So while I'm not that familiar with him, he and Brian Williams have always struck me as some of the more dependable and interesting TV journalists out there. And the most reliable.

This coming out doesn't change that. I'm a straight, white woman rounding thirty. If I were lesbian, I'd still be a white woman rounding thirty. I'd still be, you know, me - and I'm sure my experiences and so my personality would change if I was part of that minority, but that would only change some things. Not everything.

The article I linked to above gave some details but also looks at whether this will change his reporting. And here's where it gets interesting.

The title is Does coming out change Anderson Cooper’s reporting?, but the first line asks Do you feel differently now about Anderson Cooper’s reporting? At first glance, these are two very different things, and they are, but when I stopped and thought about it the distinction got a bit muddier. It reminded me of a line I read somewhere a few weeks ago, about how in the sciences belief changes nothing (the sun still sits in the sky even if I believe it doesn't) but in the social sciences it can change quite a lot. People who believe they are free act free-er, and ditto for other perceptions.

Mad About you illustrate this really well. In this clip Paul and Jamie are on retreat at a resort, where they tell too many tall tales. Jamie explains the situation with another lie: that Paul is really mentally ill (without letting Paul in on the fib). Hilarity ensues:



Since a journalist needs to be perceived as unbiased to be effective in that role, the mere fact that he's perceived as biased in some area (like sexual politics) will affect the kind of stories he's able to tell and have really heard. I know in situations where some part of my identity isn't known by the person I'm talking to, I can push the envelope a bit more than I would otherwise (I can actually be more philosophical because I won't be written off with "of course she'd say that, she's a philosopher." And sub in Southerner, Christian, academic, liberal, Trekkie, whatever you like.)

This is a sad thing because he's the same man he was before this news, and no one had any reason to doubt his objectivity then. Kind of reminds me of the reaction to the news that Dumbledore was gay, which we only learned after the books were published. The sad thing is that I am, like I said, a straight white rounding-thirty woman and all of those things carry biases I have to try to overcome. No one calls me on that or shapes their impressions unless those biases aren't overcome in a rather radical way, because my biases are the norm. (As far as I can tell, so are Mr. Cooper's.) That fact strikes me as unjust.

In any event, I'm really proud of one of my favorite mainstream journalists for having integrity here. It's hard to put yourslef out there sometimes and I think his courage should be commended.

(Originally posted at LJ.)

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